With the nation’s growing awareness of systemic racism and the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of police, many communities are reconsidering their policy of assigning officers to school buildings and questioning whether those salaries would be better spent — and more helpful to students — on counselors or social workers.
University of Delaware professor Aaron Kupchik is an expert on the topic of police in schools and can comment on what's happening in this crucial moment in American history.
He says that years of studies have found little evidence that stationing a police officer in a school helps to reduce or prevent crime and, instead, have found that more problems often are created, said Kupchik, professor of sociology and criminal justice.
Kupchik cited findings from rigorous research studies, including: When a police officer is on site, there’s a greater chance of students being arrested, even for relatively minor incidents.
And, especially important, he said, is that racial disparities occur widely.
“Across the board, in all situations where law enforcement steps in at a school, there are clearly racial disparities,” he said. “Black students are more likely to get arrested and more likely to face serious charges.”